Shakespeare and Tyranny: Regimes of Reading in Europe and Beyond, edited by Keith Gregor (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014), 281 pp.
Safi Mahmoud Mahfouz
Epistemic Claims, Practices, and Ideology in the Production of Burma's Political Order
Following the 1962 coup of Burma's first post-Independence and parliamentary democratic government, a succession of military régimes has asserted their legitimacy on diverse grounds. Their ability to keep the upland minorities contained and the country unified, to implement a socialist-style redistributive system, and contemporaneously to act as chief patron to the sangha (order of monks), have each functioned as claims to legitimate rule and to nation-statehood. In 1990, the régime refused to hand over power to Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party, following a landslide election. Aung San Suu Kyi's resistance to the régime, and claims for her own political legitimacy have been asserted, predominantly through an emergent `global society' (universalizing) discourse about human rights, régime performance, and democratic self-determination. In this paper, I examine these separate assertions for legitimacy as distinct but interrelated frameworks for thinking and action, the inconsistencies among which complicate the process of stable state making in Burma.
The question of the nature of the Israeli regime is related to two different but connected inquiries. First, its proper classification under the categories of democracy/non-democracy, a question that is closely connected to our understanding of the nature and basic features of democracy. This question has received considerable scholarly attention in the past two decades. Beside its traditional classification as a liberal democracy (see, e.g., Yakobson and Rubinstein 2008), Smooha (1990, 1998) formulated the “ethnic democracy” model to account for Israel’s political structure, Rouhana (1997) classified Israel as “ethnic state” and its regime as “exclusive ethnic state,” Peled and Navot (2005) refer to the Israeli regime as a “majoritarian democracy,” while Yiftachel (1997, 2006) described it as an archetype for “ethnocracy.” I have also dealt with the classification of the Israeli regime on several previous occasions (Ghanem 1998, 2001, 2010; Ghanem, Rouhana, and Yiftachel 2000; Rouhana and Ghanem 1998).
Few tools of Nazi propaganda were as potent or as permanent as
architecture. At the instigation of Hitler, who had once aspired to be
an architect, the Nazi regime placed unusual importance on the
design of environments—whether cities, buildings, parade grounds, or
highways—that would glorify the Third Reich and express its dynamic
relationship to both the past and the future. Architecture and urban
design were integral to the way the regime presented itself at home
and abroad. Newsreels supplemented direct personal experience of
monumental buildings. Designed to last a thousand years, these edifices
appeared to offer concrete testimony of the regime’s enduring
character. A more subtle integration of modern functions and vernacular
forms, especially in suburban housing, suggested that technological
progress could coexist with an “organic” national community
rooted in a quasi-sacred understanding of the landscape.
Gender and Public Memory in the Sighet Museum, Romania
The Memorial Museum of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance is the main museum of communism in Romania. This article a ends to this museum's politics of representing gender and argues that its exhibits reify resistance to and victimization by the communist regime as masculine. The museum marginalizes women, in general, and renders unmemorable women's lives under Nicolae Ceauşescu's pronatalist regime, in particular. The absence is significant because Romania is the only country in the former communist bloc where women experienced unique forms of systematic political victimization under Ceauşescu's nationalist-socialist politics of forced birth. This article illustrates how the museum's investment in an anti-communist discourse creates a gendered representation of political action under the communist regime.
Modern political theory, while defining a democratic political regime, puts an emphasis on institutions and procedures. According to this view, whether a particular country is democratic or not depends on the ability of the opposition to oust the incumbent government without leaving the framework of existing institutions and procedures. Cultural values that sustain the democratic polity, including the spirit of political equality, are given much less attention. These values are assumed to be already present, either as a reflection of our similar physical constitution or as a reflection of the presence of democratic political regimes. This research challenges both the monopoly of the procedural understanding of democracy and the lack of particular interest regarding the construction of egalitarian political culture. I claim, first, that the rise of an egalitarian political culture contributes to the establishment of a democratic political regime and, second, that the establishment of modern schools in the late sixteenth century contributed to the construction of this egalitarian political culture.
Black urban insurgency and antisocial security in twenty-first-century Philadelphia
This article focuses on the emergence of a new pattern of black urban insurgency emerging in major US metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia. I locate this pattern in the context of a new securitization regime that I call “antisocial security.” This regime works by establishing a decentered system of high-tech forms of surveillance and monitory techniques. I highlight the dialectic between the extension of antisocial security apparatuses and techniques into new political and social domains on the one hand and the adoption of these same techniques by those contesting racialized exclusions from urban public space on the other. I end the article with a discussion of how we might adapt the commons concept to consider the centrality of race and racism to this new securitization regime.
French-Language Algerian Comics and Cartoons Confront the Nation
Algerian and Algerian-French cartoonists have often thematised national identity in their art. Their interest in this subject has created problems for them when they have crossed the 'affrontier', a line of demarcation whose nature and place have been determined to a considerable degree by the military regime. The analysis of some of its key dimensions - political, religious, spatial, historical and symbolic - allows us to understand how it operates. By studying striking examples of cartoons and comics, their production and consumption, we can come to an understanding of how the affrontier has functioned since 1962, when Algeria gained its independence. The year 1988, when the Algerian regime killed and tortured hundreds of young rioters, stands out as a watershed, because cartoonists then began to redefine their relationship to the military regime, the nation and the affrontier.
Is Israeli democracy in danger? One often hears nowadays that it is. It is worth recalling how often, and how confidently, this has been asserted in the past. Since May 1977, when the right-wing religious coalition first came to power, it has been claimed repeatedly that Israel’s democracy is deteriorating and some form of clerical fascism is emerging. In the aftermath of the 1977 election a member of the outgoing Labor government burned his papers, fearing what might happen if they fall into the new regime’s hands. These fears, then, were not confined to some radical fringe. In a somewhat less dramatic fashion I shared and voiced them too.
The 2007 presidential elections have been the most important in France since 1981 because they provoked ruptures in the way the state and the French political system function. These ruptures, which this essay explores, include: the structural advantage the Right now has over the Left in national elections; the extension of the president's power and role in the regime; the transformation of the French political parties system into bipartism; and, finally, evolution inside the two major French parties due not only to the personality, ideas and choices of their respective candidates but also to the growing role of the president in the regime and its effects.